No redesign for Oval Office rug

Don’t expect any rewrites of the new rug in the Oval Office, despite the revelation over the weekend that one of the quotes on it is misquoted.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday told reporters that a quote on the rug — attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr., but later revealed that to have been borrowed by King from 19th-century theologian Theodore Parker — would remain.

ADVERTISEMENT
“What King said and what Parker said are not the same thing,” Gibbs said in a press briefing. “What’s on the rug is what Dr. King has said.”

That may be technically true, but King’s words, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” are awfully close to what Parker said a century earlier when he wrote, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one. ... But from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.”

Gibbs implied that White House carpet designers had been unaware of the earlier quote. “We all learned a lot this weekend,” he said.

But at this point it looks like Theodore Parker’s contribution will be swept under the (taupe, oval-shaped) rug.